Article marketing has proven to be an effective way to promote your online business for a number of reasons. They are the equivalent of infomercials on the TV, giving both interesting factual information and promoting products and services that can help solve a particular problem.
In addition, article marketing can drive traffic to your site, help you get subscribers for your newsletter, and help you improve your page ranking with certain search engines. Links back to your site or products from other sites can be perceived by Google as a vote for your site, indicating that it is interesting and relevant to a particular keyword.
Article marketing is the use of factual articles on niche topics to help drive traffic to your own site. Rather than a pure promotional piece, these articles will contain high-quality information and leave the reader eager for more. On the top article directories such as Ezinearticles, your content will appear attractively and at the end of the article you will be allowed to give promotional data about yourself in the form of a resource box.
In your resource box you would put a brief biography of yourself and your contact information, including a link over to your site.
Article marketing has become a popular way to spread the word about your business in a non-spammy way on a wide variety of sites around the Internet. It has also been used to boost the rank of a site in the eyes of search engines like Google, though with the April 2012 Google update, these links are not only valued less highly, but can even be penalized under the Penguin algorithm update. (See Joan Mullally’s guide on 44 Marketing Trends in 2012 for more information.)
The more articles you put into the directory, the better will your site’s search results will be because the site will be considered to be more relevant. Sites at the top of Google’s search engine results pages will get more natural traffic, also termed organic traffic, that is, traffic that is not paid for, as compared with Pay Per Click (PPC) traffic.
Some article directories have gained a reputation for publishing rubbish, but there are still some reputable ones that will help add to your online presence. Look at it this way. If someone uses those sites regularly and types in dog training, you have a better chance of being found and ranking highly on the article directory for that key phrase than you do on Google.
If visitors then like what they read and click to find out more about you, you have the potential for a repeat visitor and perhaps even subscriber and customer.
Some people advocate publishing an incomplete article to force people to come to your site, but this seems fairly obvious as a marketing ploy and can be frustrating for the reader.
Other Internet marketers offer good articles off site at the directories but lead them to a rubbish site full of ads with the express goal of getting ad revenue from the clicks they get on the ads and banners they have put up all over the site. This is a valid way of making money, but certainly not loyal repeat visitors, which we feel are the life-blood of any long-term, sustainable online business.
Still other sites are publishing articles which are incomplete and poorly written in an effort to get as many up as possible for the sake of the links and the page rankings. The recent changes to the Google Panda update that first hit in Feb 2011 and has now hit online business owners in April 2012 can actually trigger a site review by a human being. If your site fails, you can end up in a penalty box for 3 to 6 months, which would cause the traffic at most sites to plummet.
The trend towards article marketing has also led to a lot of copied content or rephrased content, which we commonly refer to as spun content. Content spinning through software or human means was designed to help business owners rank highly for as many keywords as possible related to the niche they were working in.
With the recent Google changes, duplicate content and keyword stuffing in poorly written articles generated by a computer will also get you penalized if you are not careful.
Article marketing is not dead, but it is certainly in need of an overhaul in 2012. If you have been cranking out a lot of poor-quality articles, slow down and let your quality start to come through. Do not try to take short cuts. After all, the content that you produce is a reflection of the information products that you are trying to sell online. If you see all of your content on your site and article directories as a free sample of what people can look forward to if they buy your product, you might be able to make more sales of your products.
At the very least, you can start to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert on your niche without being seen as a spammer. Combined with other search engine optimization techniques, article marketing done correctly can still be a valuable source of traffic to your site and a measure of relevance and therefore rank so long as you know what Google is looking for, and what they are penalizing.